“Monty Python’s Spamalot” Pokes Fun at Camelot and Rudely Debunks the Arthurian Legend

The cast of "Monty Python's Spamalot" includes (from left) Martin Glyer as Sir Robin, Adam Grabau as Sir Lancelot, Jacob L. Smith as Sir Dennis Galahad, Matt Ban as Sir Bedevere, and Steve McCoy as King Arthur (photo by Scott Suchman 2010)
The cast of "Monty Python's Spamalot" includes (from left) Martin Glyer as Sir Robin, Adam Grabau as Sir Lancelot, Jacob L. Smith as Sir Dennis Galahad, Matt Ban as Sir Bedevere, and Steve McCoy as King Arthur (photo by Scott Suchman 2010)

The cast of "Monty Python's Spamalot" includes (from left) Martin Glyer as Sir Robin,  Adam Grabau as Sir Lancelot, Jacob L. Smith as Sir Dennis Galahad, Matt Ban as  Sir Bedevere, and Steve McCoy as King Arthur (photo by Scott Suchman 2010)
The cast of "Monty Python's Spamalot" includes (from left) Martin Glyer as Sir Robin, Adam Grabau as Sir Lancelot, Jacob L. Smith as Sir Dennis Galahad, Matt Ban as Sir Bedevere, and Steve McCoy as King Arthur (photo by Scott Suchman 2010)

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present Monty Python’s Spamalot at 7;30 p.m. on May 24th and 25th in its brand-new, 2,700-seat, state-of-the-art theater, in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, NC. Spamalot applies the patented stream-of-consciousness sketch-comedy technique — and sublime silliness — of Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-83) to debunking the legends of noble King Arthur and his heroic Knights of the Round Table and their brave but ultimately futile search for the Holy Grail.

In the current national tour of Monty Python’s Spamalot, Steve McCoy stars as King Arthur (“King of the Britons, head of the Round Table, surprisingly good scat singer,” according to the show’s official website). Spamalot also stars Caroline Bowman as The Lady of the Lake (“Part fairy, part diva, and all woman”); and Adam Grabau as Sir Lancelot (“His name is Lancelot, he likes to dance-alot”).

Co-stars include Glenn Giron as Patsy (“King Arthur’s faithful servant, providing companionship and much needed clip-clopping”); Jacob L. Smith as Sir Dennis Galahad (“The most handsome knight — once you clean all the s*** off him”); Matt Ban as Sir Bedevere (“The last of Arthur’s knights — and the one with the worst flatulence”); Martin Glyer as Sir Robin (“Brave Sir Robin, the lad who wants to be a knight, but needs help in the bravery department”); Thomas DeMarcus as the Historian who narrates the show and Prince Herbert (“One day, the entire kingdom will be his. But first, how about a little showtune?”); John Garry as a Nun and the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog; and the recorded voice of John Cleese as the Voice of God.

The Ensemble includes Matthew Alexander, Stephen Cerf, Jennifer Cordiner, Carl Draper, William Harrell, Melissa Denise Lopez, Shaun Patrick Moe, Linda Neel, Keleen Snowgren, Tara Sweeney, Michael Warrell, and Jessica Wockenfuss.

Tour director B.T. McNicholl and choreographer Scott Taylor will recreate Mike Nichols’ direction and Casey Nicholaw’s choreography from the original Broadway production; and James Kronzer will modify Tim Hatley’s Broadway scenic design for the national tour. The tour creative team also includes lighting designer Mike Baldassari, costume designer Tim Hatley, sound designer Craig Cassidy, musical supervisor Steven M. Bishop, supervising musical director James Cunningham, conductor Kevin Casey, and production stage manager Suzanne Apicella.

According to the Durham Performing Arts Center:

“Lovingly ‘ripped-off’ from the internationally famous comedy team’s most popular motion picture, Monty Python and the Holy Grail [1975], Monty Python’s Spamalot is the winner of three 2005 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical and Best Director (Mike Nichols), as well as the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Musical.

“The original cast recording of Monty Python’s Spamalot won the 2006 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Show Album.

“‘We are thrilled to add another Tony Award-winning Broadway show to the long list of best musicals to take the stage at DPAC‘, stated assistant director of marketing Rachel Gragg.

“Based on the Tony Award-winning direction of Mike Nichols and the riotous choreography of Casey Nicholaw, Monty Python’s Spamalot features a book by Eric Idle, based on the screenplay of Monty Python and the Holy Grail by Monty Python creators Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, with music and lyrics by the Grammy Award-winning team of Mr. Idle and John Du Prez.

“Telling the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and their quest for the Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Spamalot features a chorus line of dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits, and one legless knight.

Monty Python’s Spamalot is produced by Stephen B. Kane, Michael McFadden, and Phoenix Entertainment.

“Mike Nichols has been acclaimed as one of the great American directors in film, theater and television. He has won the [1968] Academy Award® [for The Graduate] and eight Tony Awards. He recently received the Directors’ Guild of America Award for Lifetime Achievement as well as a DGA Award for the direction of the HBO adaptation of Angels in America [2004].

“Casey Nicholaw’s outstanding work on Monty Python’s Spamalot earned him nominations for the Tony Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Drama Desk Award. He followed up Monty Python’s Spamalot with another smash hit Broadway musical, The Drowsy Chaperone [2006], for which he earned numerous nominations as director and choreographer.

“Aside from his work with Monty Python in films and on TV, Eric Idle has written a West End play, Pass the Butler [1982]; three novels, including The Road to Mars, The Rutles — A Mockumentary; and many songs too rude to mention. He has sung opera, acted in movies, appeared on television and crossed America performing comedy on ‘The Greedy Bastard Tour.’ His diary of his 15,000-mile journey by bus was recently published by Harper Collins, and his long-awaited sequel The Rutles 2: Can’t Buy Me Lunch was released by Warner Video in March [2003]. There’s no saying what he might do next…

“John Du Prez has composed over 20 feature film scores, including A Fish Called Wanda [1988], A Private Function [1984], The Meaning of Life [1983], Personal Services [1987], UHF [1989], and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I, II & III [1990-93]. He has worked with Eric Idle since 1978.

“Monty Python isn’t a person, but a group of British actors and writers (and one American) that performed their famous comedy show ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ on the BBC from 1969 to 1974, with subsequent international fame and success.”

After premiering on Jan. 9, 2005 at the Shubert Theatre (now the LaSalle Bank Theatre) in Chicago, Monty Python’s Spamalot made its Broadway debut on March 17, 2005 at the Shubert Theatre, where it played for 1,575 performances before closing on Jan. 11, 2009. The original Broadway cast included Tim Curry as King Arthur, Sara Ramirez as the Lady of the Lake, Christopher Sieber as Sir Dennis Galahad; Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot; Michael McGrath as Patsy; David Hyde Pierce as Sir Robin; Christian Borle as the Historian who narrates the show and Prince Herbert; and Steve Rosen as Sir Bedevere.

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT at 7:30 p.m. May 24 and 25 at DPAC, in the American Tobacco District, at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.

TICKETS: $36.50-$78.75 (including fees).


DPAC Box Office: 919/680-ARTS (2787), tickets@dpacnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=54.

Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/927819.

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919/281-0587, groups@dpacnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=22.

SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=19&objId=373.

VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://www.montypythonsspamalot.com/media.php.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=26. PARKING: http://www.dpacnc.com/default.asp?dpac=27.


The Musical: http://www.montypythonsspamalot.com/ (official website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spamalot (Wikipedia), and http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?ID=384261 (Internet Broadway Database).

The Tour: http://www.montypythonsspamalot.com/ (official website).

The Tour Cast: http://www.montypythonsspamalot.com/cast.php?section=235 (official web page).

The Tour Creative Team: http://www.montypythonsspamalot.com/creators.php (official web page).

The Film: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Python_and_the_Holy_Grail (Wikipedia) and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071853/ (Internet Movie Database).

Monty Python: http://pythonline.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Python (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).